One of the biggest frustrations when it comes to dealing with addiction is when we relapse, despite having worked tremendously hard for weeks, months, and in some cases years in order to conquer our vices.
In this final edition of our addiction series, we explore methods for avoiding relapse, so that you can live a healthy, happy life without ever becoming embroiled in dependency again.
Remember: You Are An Addict
The easiest way to fall back into an addiction is to get complacent and feel as if you have beaten it in the first place. This is what leads us into kidding ourselves that ‘just one drink,’ for example, will not have any impact on us.
Avoid this scenario by accepting that you will always be an addict. Your counseling sessions would have most likely covered this anyway, but keeping that thought in your head will ensure that you automatically know one reason not to have ‘just one,’ whether that is a drink, a cigarette, or shot of drugs.
Know Your Triggers
During your recovery program, you will have done a lot of work identifying the triggers that make you want to drink, smoke, or take drugs. Importantly, by now you will know, understand, and have made peace with the reasons why you became an addict in the first place.
This is very powerful, as you are now always able to remove yourself from certain situations when you realize they are happening, and have the knowledge of where they may lead. These could be stressful situations in your personal or work life, or could mean that you no longer visit certain places. It could even mean that there are certain friends or acquaintances that you cut all contact with.
While coming to terms with some of the actions we need to take can be difficult, even heartbreaking, the reality of reducing our risk factor of relapse means they are undeniably worthwhile.
Have Help at Hand
As you reach the final stages of your recovery, you will find that your life has a number of added dimensions. You may have made new friends, found a new hobby, or rebuilt relationships that your addictions once destroyed.
All of these can be valuable as “go to” resources, for the times when you have identified a trigger but still find yourself struggling to resist temptation. It may be you have somewhere you can go, a specific person you can call for a chat, a self-help book you bought earlier in the recovery cycle, or a CD that you can listen to, which will take your mind off the urge you are feeling.
Needing to have these resources ‘on call’ by no means indicates you have failed in your recovery. You are an addict, and always will be, and this is what you need to do in order to manage those effectively and prevent a catastrophic relapse.
One final way to ensure you receive the long-term help you need is to be open about what you have experienced. Dealing with addiction is tough, but the journey from the darkest depths to now will have helped you to build your confidence to the point where you can discuss your past vices without worrying about judgmental or misguided opinions.
Telling people about your past will help them to help you, as they will not put temptation right in front of your face in any way.
Live Your Life
Be positive, and quit looking over your shoulder waiting for your addictions and past problems to come creeping up on you.
Yes, you are an addict, but you are firmly in the recovery stage, and plan to be so for the rest of your life. Move forward, be happy, and if you get the opportunity to discuss your past as a means of helping others deal with their present, embrace it with both hands.